on 15th Feb 2014
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Once the dead have truly taken over the world and there are only a few pockets of humanity left, the only possible form of escape is to head off-world to massive orbiting space stations, and you have to ask yourself how far you would go to get there once a remote opportunity to board a departing space shuttle presents itself?
And that right there, is the basis for Ray Wallace’s set-sometime-in-the-future, choose your own adventure, Escape From Zombie Planet. You are the protagonist and have to make choices along the way that will determine whether you move closer to your goal or become very dead somewhere short of there. The main gimmick Wallace sells this series of short novels on (this being the third) is there is only one way out. All the other endings leave you down and doomed (at best) or soon to become one of the living dead.
Or so I thought. My first time through Escape From Zombie Planet, I didn’t actually die, but neither did I escape. In fact, the implication was I made a fairly good fist of a new life once the possibility of escape evaporated. This annoyed me a little as I felt I’d made most of the choices a massive fan of the zombie sub-genre would have made, only to come up short. Reflecting upon this led me to ponder about the structure of this choose your own adventure. It seemed that luck rather than a degree of skill was going to see me through, and this sucked some of the enjoyment out of proceedings for me. Regardless, I went back to the start, deservedly died by the half way point, and third time through, made it off planet.
Though the read was fun and well-written, it felt like the scenes setting up choices were overly long, so there were relatively few decisions to make in reaching the conclusion. This also seems to be aimed at a wide audience of all ages, as the blood and gore is mostly implied and rarely described in any detail – something that I found a bit disappointing. Still, in a classic case of PG-13 versus R rating, I understand Wallace is more likely to make a profit with the former sensibility in mind.
In short, Wallace has constructed a fun if somewhat random read that was will appeal to most who devoured the Choose Your Own Adventures in the ’80s.
3 Wrong Turns for Escape From Zombie Planet.
Note: The above was generated from an ARC generously granted by the author in exchange for an honest review.